Question by Josh Hedgepeth: Will a screen protector for the new iPad reduce or impede the retina display quality? I preordered the new iPad, and I was considering getting a screen protector. Although, I started to wonder if the screen protector might reduce the screen quality. I love the new Retina display feature, and I don’t want to buy something that will cause the quality to go down.
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We’re hearing from a reliable source that OnLive’s founder and CEO Steve Perlman finally decided to make an exit — and in the process, is screwing the employees who helped build the company and brand. The cloud gaming company reportedly had several suitors over the last few years (perhaps including Microsoft) but Perlman reportedly held tight control over the company, apparently not wanting to sell or share any of OnLive’s secret sauce.
Our source tells us that the buyer wants all of OnLive’s assets — the intellectual property, branding, and likely patents — but the plan is to keep the gaming company up and running. However, OnLive management cleaned house today, reportedly firing nearly the entire staff, and we hear it was done just to reduce the company’s liability, thus reducing employee equity to practically zero. Yeah, it’s a massive dick move.
OnLive hit the gaming world hard when it launched in 2009. Promising playable games there were lag free, OnLive moved gaming to the cloud. The service took some time to gain traction but finally hit its stride last year with the addition of several top-tier titles. It was rumored in June that even Microsoft considered buying the company. Some even thought OnLive would be a good fit within Sony — until Sony bought OnLive competitor Gaikai last month instead.
“Sony Computer Entertainment will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service” Andrew House, president and group CEO of SCE said last month. Sony paid $ 380M for Gaikai, a cloud gaming company with nearly zero brand recognition. OnLive could have gone for a lot more.
For an upstart cloud gaming service, OnLive has done relatively well for itself. The company initially outed only one cloud gaming console, but quickly embraced others. The software works with most Android tablets, ships preinstalled on Vizio TVs (and its new Co Star Google TV), and is available for the iPad and computer desktops.
We reached out to OnLive for comment but the company will neither confirm nor deny the claim. All the PR rep was willing to say was that the aforementioned Vizio Co Star launches today. The company also would not comment on the layoffs but Martyn Williams tweeted seeing OnLive staffers leaving their office carry boxes. These people likely just lost their jobs and equity prior to OnLive’s exit.
Update: OnLive provided TechCrunch the statement below. Like earlier reports suggested, it sounds like OnLive Inc. was dissolved and a new company, OnLive Inc 2 or something of the sort, will continue in its place and is likely backed by new investors. The statement indicates that “a large percentage of OnLive Inc.’s staff” will be hired by this new company, which will then hire more people. But there’s no word on if the original employees completely lost their equity. No matter how OnLive spins this move, it’s still looks shady to me.
We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive’s apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.’s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services.
We apologize that we were unable to comment on this transaction until it completed, and were limited to reporting on news related to OnLive’s businesses. Now that the transaction is complete, we are able to make this statement.
Colin Giles, Nokia’s executive vice president of sales, has announced that he’s stepping down. It follows the company’s dour financial results for Q1 and will lead to a restructuring of the company’s sales organization, aiming to strip layers from what’s currently in place. Giles has been with Nokia since 1992 and was heavily involved in the company’s movements in China and the larger Asia market. However, he had only been involved in Nokia’s Leadership Team for just under a year. He will stay with the team until June 30 and cites a desire to be closer to his family following his departure. Announced through Nokia’s official channels, the process aims to “ensure greater customer focus” — we suppose that will involve more than just white polycarbonate.
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It’s no secret that batteries are holding back mobile technology. It’s nothing against the battery companies, which are surely dedicating quite a lot of R&D to improving their technology, hoping to be the first out of the gate with a vastly improved AA or rechargeable device battery. But battery density has been improving very slowly over the last few years, and advances have had to be in processor and display efficiency, in order to better use that limited store of power.
Researchers at Northwestern University claim to have created an improved lithium ion battery that not only would hold ten times as much energy, but would charge ten times as quickly.
It’s probably safe to call it a breakthrough.
Inside Li-ion batteries, there are innumerable layers of graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms. Lithium ions fill the spaces between these layers, and when the battery is being charged, these atoms must creep their way physically to the edge of the sheet in order to get down to the next layer and make room for more ions. The rate of recharge is limited by how fast these ions can go from layer to layer. One solution tried before was replacing the carbon sheets with silicon, which for some chemical reason can hold many times the lithium ions — but the silicon would expand and contract with the charge cycles, quickly breaking.
Professor Harold Kung, researcher at NWU and lead author of the paper (published this month in the journal Advanced Energy Materials), has discovered not just one, but two techniques for improving this charge process. His lab decided to combine the strengths of both materials, carbon and silicon, by populating the area between the graphene sheets with silicon nanoclusters. These little clusters greatly increase the amount of ions that can be kept in the battery, and because they are small and the graphene is flexible, their size changes are manageable. Thus, the charge capacity of the battery was improved by, Kung says, a factor of ten.
But that’s not all. Kung’s lab also thought of perforating the graphene sheets, allowing ions to take a “shortcut” to the next layer. They call these 10-20nm holes “in-plane defects,” and they essentially rust them out. The result? Charging is ten times faster.
A possible downside is a faster degradation process; after 150 charges and discharges, the batteries showed only a 5x improvement to capacity and charge speed. Of course, those 150 charges would be the energy equivalent of 1500 charges of today’s batteries.
Naturally this huge leap in battery power and efficiency won’t be in your phones next week; they estimate they could be on the market in three to five years — cold comfort to iPhone 4S owners who are only getting seven or eight hours of on time. But the process is changed enough that existing manufacturing techniques are likely insufficient.
The full paper, In-Plane Vacancy-Enabled High-Power Si-Graphene Composite Electrode for Lithium-Ion Batteries, is available to subscribers here.
There’s nothing worse (seriously, it’s scientifically proven) than catching some serious glare on your smartphone, unless you’re checking for spinach in your teeth — but thanks to Nippon Electric Glass’ new “invisible glass,” an overly reflective surface may be a problem of the past. According to our friends at Tech-On, the company has developed a new type of vitrine that reduces glare by using a special film on each side of the substrate, which allows more light to pass through the layers rather than bounce off the surface. Normal glass reflects around eight percent of light, while the new variety only rebounds 0.5 percent, dramatically reducing the luminous reflectance to around 0.1 percent or lower. Looks like your yearning to purchase this thing is finally justified.
Filed under: Displays
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Looks like we weren’t the only one afflicted by the Sony NEX-5N camera’s annoying click problem. In case you missed it, the camera displayed the annoying tendency of producing an audible click loud enough to ruin any 1080/60p video if it was moved suddenly while shooting. Tonight Sony updated its support site to promise a “performance improvement” available to all owners under the camera’s warranty that it claims reduces the sound. At the moment we don’t have any more information on what’s causing the sound or what the improvement entails, but owners can dial 888-868-7392 to get their units upgraded.
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Here are some of yesterday’s Gadgets stories: Progress of 3D TVs May Not Be Quite As Bleak A Picture As Imagined Bevy Of Apple Patents Granted, From Visual Voicemail To PCI Card Brackets Review: The HP Palm TouchPad Apple’s Trade-In Program Just Got So Much Better Shots Leak Of Acer’s New Ultrabook, The Aspire 3951
You would think that, in a city like Seattle, people would learn to A: not have gigantic, pointy umbrellas, and B: look where the hell they are walking. But no, that is not the case. I fear for my life on blustery days when iPhone-absorbed pedestrians of smaller stature menace my eyeballs with their spiky bumbershoots.
Today I learned that there are blunt umbrellas. I implore you, world, for god’s sake make this the standard. And make them cheaper, $ 80 is too much.
One of the world’s top suppliers of cellular infrastructure, Nokia Siemens, has dropped some juicy knowledge today that Apple’s new iOS 4.2 update supports a technology called network-controlled fast dormancy that better optimizes how the phone connects to the network. The company touts that it’s a win-win — better battery life, less unnecessary network utilization — and also points out that Nokia implemented the technique in all of its smartphones starting earlier this year. Since network-controlled fast dormancy is a feature that benefits the network itself as much as it benefits the individual user, knocking out two power players like Nokia and Apple (over half of new smartphone sales, NSN points out) should make a big dent.
Interestingly, NSN seems to have arrived at this discovery through “tests” it conducted, not by working with Apple on implementing it. Sure, we don’t pretend to know all the interactions that occur between manufacturers, carriers, and suppliers during a phone’s development, but it certainly seems to us that Apple would benefit by engaging infrastructure companies early and often as these baseband updates come together — particularly as it seeks to keep a tight lid on the very congestion issues that network-controlled fast dormancy is designed to help eliminate. Either way, it’s interesting to see how quick Nokia Siemens was to probe for the change this time around.
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It’s very well that manufacturers are constantly pushing for more efficient LEDs, but we can do better than that: what if we could have an LED lighting system that pumps out just the right amount of juice to suit our changing environment? That’s exactly what the tree huggers at MIT are working on right now. Said adaptive system relies on a small box that not only acts as a position tracker, calibrator and sensor for the dimmable overhead LED fixtures, but also lets the user set the desired tone and light intensity for the room. In other words: no matter how sunny or cloudy it is outside, you’ll still be comfortably basking in the same steady shine in your room, while also saving up to 90 percent of energy. Our guess is that Philips — the project’s sponsor — will eventually release a product based on this technology, but for now, you can see the system in action after the break (from 1:07).
Continue reading MIT developing smart adaptive LED lighting system to reduce energy use by up to 90 percent
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